DanBar Ranch
in loving memory of Dan and Barbara Jessup
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I am a supporter of FULL health testing, because in almost every case, there is no clear way to know if a dog carries genes for a disease, or suffers from a malformation such as hip dysplasia without veterinarian examination.  To me, the one exception is deafness.  When a person lives in a close relationship with their dogs, it would be difficult to not notice a loss of hearing. (Except in Cairn terriers who don't listen to owners anyway LOL!)

There is a test for deafness that can be given to very young puppies, and certainly those utilizing deaf dogs in their breeding program, or who have concerns about deafness in their lines; this is the BAER test. I will certainly utilize this test if I ever have a question. However, there are other ways to test dogs and pups and at this time I am utilizing those. 
Health Testing: DEAFNESS IN BOSTON TERRIERS
Bostons can experience deafness due to their having white on their heads.  This is also true of white Boxers, Dalmatians, bull terriers, merle colored Dachshunds and Great Danes (along with several other breeds).

What does a white coat have to do with hearing loss? The ability to hear is made possible by a special layer of cells within the inner ear. This specialized layer of cells, and the cells that determine hair color, come from the same stem cell source. Without this stem cell, the dog’s body won’t be able to make this specialized layer of hearing cells and will likely be white in coloration.

Dogs that carry the piebald gene are often affected by deafness. Piebaldism results from the absence of melanocytes, the cells that create the pigment melanin. These melanocytes are the part a dog’s DNA that determines coloration, such as brown or black hair, or blue or brown eyes. (Blue eyes are not a true eye color, but rather result from the lack of color-producing pigment within the iris.) When a dog is born without melanocytes, a predominantly white coat (and often blue eyes) is the result. Breeds commonly affected by the piebald gene include Bull Terriers, Boxers, English Setters, and Dalmatians.
​Above: puppy undergoing BAER testing. 
TESTING AVAILABLE DEAFNESS

When Boston pups are weaned it is a simple matter to test for deafness by taking them, ONE AT A TIME (so they won't cue off each other) and have them play with a helper. When the pup is occupied with the helper and not able to see the tester, they blow a sharp blow on a whistle or fire a starter pistol. The dog's reaction will be the gauge for how well the dog hears.  IF there is any question at all, a BAER test should be done. 


The BAER test (Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response) evaluates the components of the external ear canal, middle/inner ear cavities, cranial nerve, and selected areas of the brainstem. Electrodes are attached to the skull to measure the electrical activity within the brain, a series of clicks are passed through headphones placed over or in the dog’s ears, and the responses recorded. If there is a hearing deficit, the BAER response is absent (flat line) or reduced in amplitude. BAER tests can determine whether a dog is deaf in one (unilateral deafness) or both ears (bilateral deafness). Note: tests performed on puppies younger than six weeks of age can produce false positive results.​


​So called "white Dobermans" are just a bad idea all the way around. The genes that produce white Dobermans has been linked to deafness, poor eye sight, unpredictable temperament, skin disease and being prone to sun burning to name a few. The problem is so serious that the AKC designates any Doberman of any color that carries white genes with a "Z" in their registration number.